Season 6 of Game of Thrones was formally commissioned by HBO on April 8, 2014, following a substantial increase in audience figures between the third and fourth seasons. The fifth and sixth seasons were commissioned simultaneously, the first time HBO has done so for a major drama series.
The season consists of ten episodes. It began filming in late July 2015 and concluded on December 17, 2015. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss returned as executive producers and showrunners for both seasons five and six, having signed a new two-year contract with HBO in early 2014.
The season premiered on April 24, 2016.
Season 6 is based on the hitherto unreleased sixth novel of the A Song of Ice and Fire book series, The Winds of Winter, along with a significant amount of material from the fourth and fifth books, A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons, which run concurrently but follow different sets of characters.
- 1 Plot
- 2 Adaptation
- 3 Production
- 4 Episodes
- 5 Comparison with the novels
- 6 Media release
- 7 Deleted Scenes
- 8 Image gallery
- 9 Video gallery
- 10 See also
- 11 References
Winter has come.
In King's Landing, Queen Cersei Lannister has been publicly shamed by the Faith of the Seven and awaits her trial for regicide and incest. Even Grand Maester Pycelle has abandoned her, and called her uncle, Ser Kevan Lannister, to rule as the new Hand of the King. Even though Cersei has been released to their custody, her inept leadership nearly destroyed House Lannister's hold on the throne and they have no intention of ever letting her wield power again. Kevan and Pycelle must attempt to mend the damage Cersei did to the Lannister-Tyrell alliance. The Lannisters and Tyrells on Kevan's Small Council maintain a shaky truce as they attempt to deal with the ongoing debt crisis to the Iron Bank of Braavos, as well as the rise of the fanatical Faith Militant due to Cersei's blunders. Cersei meanwhile, though seemingly humbled, still has a few schemes she will attempt to play to regain control.
In the North, the Boltons have triumphed over King Stannis — but in the distraction, Sansa Stark and Theon Greyjoy have escaped, desperately jumping off Winterfell's castle walls. Brienne of Tarth, who executed Stannis, must now deal with the consequences of putting her vow to avenge King Renly before her oath to protect Sansa.
In the Riverlands, after the Red Wedding the remaining Tully forces (who were not present at the massacre of their Northern allies) pulled back to Riverrun castle - where they have been hopelessly besieged by House Frey's army ever since. The garrison is under the command of Robb Stark's great-uncle Brynden "The Blackfish" Tully, and is the last bastion of Robb's short-lived independent kingdom that remains unconquered. Riverrun's garrison may be surrounded and alone, fighting for a dead king, but their defenses are formidable, they have enough food supplies to last for years, and their commander is one of the most experienced and skilled generals in Westeros. The Lannisters and their Frey allies cannot let the siege of Riverrun continue to drag on if they are ever to claim real control over central Westeros.
Across the Narrow Sea, in the Free City of Braavos, Arya Stark killed Meryn Trant without the Faceless Men's permission — but without the proper training, the use of one of their masks has poisoned her and rendered her blind. Her training continues, as now the blind little girl must learn to rely on her other senses to survive.
In Slaver's Bay, Daenerys Targaryen's attempt to liberate Meereen has resulted in massive bloodshed, with the former slave masters conspiring to retake the city. In a large scale ambush on the opening day of the games in Daznak's Pit however, Daenerys climbed onto Drogon's back to try to escape the danger — but she could not make him return to the city. Instead, the young dragon flew north to the southern border of the Dothraki Sea, the lands of his birth, where the stranded Daenerys has been surrounded by a hostile Dothraki khalasar numbering in the thousands. Jorah Mormont and Daario Naharis have set out to search for her. Meanwhile, back in the city Daenerys's advisors Tyrion Lannister, Missandei, and Grey Worm are joined by Varys in attempting to hold together rule over the city wracked by the ongoing insurgency until Daenerys returns — if she returns at all.
At the Wall, Lord Commander Jon Snow attempted to prepare for the coming of the White Walkers by letting as many wildlings through to the south as he could — but tens of thousands more were killed and resurrected as undead wights at Hardhome. The leading Night's Watch officers, increasingly upset at Jon's proposed alliance with the wildlings, have staged a mutiny "for the Watch" and stabbed Jon multiple times until he fell.
Just before the mutiny against Jon Snow, he sent away Samwell Tarly to go to the Citadel in Oldtown in order to train to be a new maester to replace Maester Aemon after his passing. Samwell takes Gilly and her young son with him, rather than leave them in the path of the White Walkers. Oldtown, Westeros's second largest city, is located in the southwest of the Reach, not far away from Sam's former home, the House Tarly castle-seat at Horn Hill. Samwell and Gilly, however, face a long and difficult sea voyage before they get to the Citadel.
Distracted by the political intrigues in King's Landing, the exhausted lords of Westeros must now brace for the rise of the kraken — the ironborn led by House Greyjoy. Early in the War of the Five Kings, Balon Greyjoy declared the Iron Islands' independence and raided the North while the Stark's army was fighting in the south. Having remained relatively uninvolved ever since, the ironborn's massive fleet remains at full strength, a fact lost on the major powers of the mainland, who have been nearly exhausted fighting each other.
All of this changes with the sudden return of Balon's exiled younger brother Euron Greyjoy — cunning, ruthless, manipulative, and more than a little insane, he strikes fear even into the other ironborn. He pushes for the ironborn to launch massive new offensives against the other kingdoms, not simply to raid, but to hold and conquer territory, as Euron's ultimate ambition is nothing less than to conquer all of the Seven Kingdoms. He is opposed by Balon's daughter Yara Greyjoy, who urges that the Iron Islands must preserve their strength and engage in diplomacy with the mainland if they are to survive.
And as the winds of winter begin to sweep through the south, far Beyond the Wall the young Bran Stark has been staying with the last of the Children of the Forest and his new mentor, the Three-eyed raven, in order to hone his abilities. Bran will not walk again, but he has learned to fly.
While prior seasons followed a format of adapting roughly one book's worth of material per year (or one large book across two seasons, in the case of Season 3 and most of Season 4), Season 5 heavily condensed together most of the fourth and fifth novels in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons. The fourth and fifth novels did occur simultaneously, and were originally intended to be one massive novel (the fourth novel focuses on events in the Seven Kingdoms and the Free Cities, and the fifth on events at the Wall, in the North and in Slaver's Bay, with the last third outpacing the fourth novel). The result is that by the end of Season 5 most - though not all - storylines in the TV series caught up with the current novels, including:
- Jon Snow and the Night's Watch
- Daenerys Targaryen and Meereen, including Tyrion Lannister
- King's Landing, including Cersei Lannister and Margaery Tyrell (except for one additional Small Council chapter)
- Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish and The Vale
- Stannis Baratheon and Melisandre
- Davos Seaworth was involved in other subplots in the North which were cut, but with Stannis's defeat now it is unknown if these will be drawn on later.
- Roose Bolton and Ramsay Bolton
- Bran Stark, Hodor, and Meera Reed - already caught up at the end of Season 4, except for one chapter.
- Theon Greyjoy, except for his experiences after escaping Winterfell.
Season 5 was heavily condensed, however, and two entire books worth of storylines simply could not fit into a single season. Therefore, several subplots were pushed back until Season 6, including:
- Almost the entire House Greyjoy subplot since the second novel. The Greyjoys barely appear in the third novel (corresponding to Seasons 3 and 4), but then the narrative shifts to put a major focus on them in the fourth and fifth novels. Yara Greyjoy (called Asha Greyjoy in the books) even becomes a POV narrator. In contrast, the Greyjoys (as a faction, not including Theon) did not appear at all in Season 5.
- Though the Dorne subplot was introduced in Season 5, it was extremely condensed, to the point that Doran Martell only briefly appeared in Season 5, and many other members of House Martell didn't appear at all. Two of Doran's children were omitted from the TV series and may not appear at all in the TV continuity - particularly including Doran's eldest child and heir, Arianne Martell, who is actually the POV narrator for much of the Dorne subplot. Similar to the Greyjoys, the narrative widens to give focus on the Martells in the fourth and fifth novels, but ultimately very little of the Martell storyline appeared in Season 5.
- Arya Stark in Braavos - two more chapters after she goes blind at the end of the fourth novel. Another Arya chapter from the upcoming sixth novel was released as a preview before Season 5: the second half of it involved Arya killing a Lannister guard on her kill list who came to Braavos, and this was already adapted in Season 5; the first half of the chapter involved a lengthy scene at a stage play in Braavos, and screenshots confirm this will appear in Season 6.
- Samwell Tarly and Gilly's long sea voyage to Oldtown, on the exact opposite side of Westeros, which takes them through Braavos and the Free Cities, and having to face the ironborn who are now ravaging the southwestern coasts.
- The subplots in The Riverlands, centering around the Frey siege of the Tullys at Riverrun, the garrison commanded by Catelyn's uncle Brynden Tully. The Riverrun subplot involved Jaime Lannister in the novels, as he tries to negotiate with Brynden.
- Also, Brienne of Tarth's wanderings in the Riverlands were omitted from Season 5. Much of this material wasn't directly relevant to overall plot threads, and several characters who were important to other plotlines now appear to have been reshuffled into other subplots in Season 6. Given how much Jaime and Brienne's subplots were changed in Season 5, it is unclear how these will play out in Season 6.
- Bran Stark has only one more chapter, in the cave of the Three-Eyed Raven, but as it plays out in live action it may stretch across a significant amount of time: training in his magical powers, Bran experiences several visions of the past. When Bran returns in Season 6, the TV show will use this as a framing device to show various flashbacks from the novels, such as actually showing Bran's father Ned during Robert's Rebellion, and certain other key events, such as the Raid on the Tower of Joy. Some of these flashbacks appeared in one form or another in prior novels, when other characters recounted them through vivid narration, but the TV series only started depicting flashback scenes in Season 5 (the Prologue scene when Cersei has a flashback to her youth when she was given a prophecy about her downfall).
- Tyrion's storyline as he was heading east to Meereen introduced a major new subplot involving a major political shakeup in the Free Cities. This was cut completely from Tyrion's storyline in Season 5, but after he leaves for Meereen it subsequently intersects with several other subplots (not Arya's). This will probably be cut entirely from the TV series continuity.
Some of these subplots were not omitted entirely but pushed back to Season 6, however this will inevitably lead to some changes compared to the novels, because they were originally interlinked with events happening in the other storylines. Particularly, Cersei's decisions as regent directly affected the Greyjoy, Martell, and Riverrun storylines, and to an extent the Braavos subplot (due to the banking crisis). Given that Cersei has already been arrested in the TV series, some of these choices may be shifted to her uncle Kevan Lannister, the new Hand of the King, loosely drawing on the long Small Council chapter from late in the fifth novel which hasn't been adapted yet. It also isn't clear why Jaime would leave King's Landing again to deal with Riverrun now that Cersei is arrested.
Therefore, Season 6 isn't really "entirely new material" because many subplots were adapted at an uneven pace - though the TV series has always been speeding up or slowing down the rate of different storylines: Jaime's storyline from the third novel was moved up to the end of Season 2 (because he had little material in the second novel), and Bran Stark's storyline from the fifth novel was actually moved up to Season 4, when other characters were still on their material from the late third novel. Jon Snow's subplot was actually delayed for some time - in the third novel, the Battle of Castle Black occurred immediately after Jon returned to Castle Black, which was quickly followed by Jon's election as Lord Commander: due to the mechanics of splitting the third novel in half, Jon returned to Castle Black in the Season 3 finale but the battle didn't occur until the climax of the Season 4 finale, which necessitated pushing the Night's Watch election to the beginning of Season 5 (had this occurred at the pace it did in the novels, Jon's election would actually have happened in the middle of Season 4).
Nonetheless, Season 6 will mostly draw upon the as-yet-unpublished sixth novel, The Winds of Winter - certainly for Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen's storylines, as the final chapters of the fifth novel were the cliffhangers of Jon being stabbed by his own officers and Daenerys being surrounded by the Dothraki khalasar. George R.R. Martin did give the TV producers an outline of events that will happen in the final two unpublished novels - though at the same time, they don't have access to hundreds of pages of source material anymore (for pulling specific lines of dialogue, etc.)
Though Martin has released about half a dozen preview chapters from the sixth novel, it isn't clear how much of a basis they can be for any material in the TV series, due to existing differences between the book series and the adaptation. Also, until the book is released, there is no way of analyzing the adaptation process fully (e.g., if the actions of one character in Season 6 are actually a condensation of the actions of two different characters in the sixth novel).
In Northern Ireland, production ran from late July to late December 2015. Interior shooting returned to the show's headquarters, the Paint Hall Studios in Belfast. Meanwhile, location shooting took place at the following locations: Garron Point (previously Runestone), the Winterfell set in Moneyglass, Magilligan (reprising its part as the Dothraki sea), the Castle Black set at the Magheramorne quarry, Ballintoy (returning as Pyke), a rural sept set in Larne, Glenarm (previously the Vale), Carnlough Harbour (as a Braavosi canal), Shane's Castle (once more as the foundations of the Great Sept of Baelor), Carncastle (previously the fields around Winterfell), Aghanloo Wood, Saintfield (as the site for "The Battle of the Bastards", a climactic Northern battle, which demanded the show's lengthiest shoot for a battle scene), the Riverrun set in Corbet (newly built, since in the third season the castle was realized only with Gosford Castle's gardens, an interior hall set and a distant matte painting), the Knocklayd Mountain quarry, Ballycastle in County Antrim, and Murlough Bay.
Ever since Croatia was introduced into the production for the second season, it has been the main source of locations outside of Northern Ireland, yet this season only returned to the country for a brief shoot in Dubrovnik, which reappears as King's Landing. Previously, Dubrovnik had been both King's Landing and Qarth, while Klis, Split and Šibenik depicted Meereen and Braavos. This season turned to new Spanish locations instead.
In Spain, filming took place between late August and late October. In Girona, the locations were the Sant Pere de Galligants abbey's exterior (as a Braavosi bridge), the Plaça dels Jurats (as a Braavosi theater stage), the streets of Ferran el Catòlic, Sant Martí and l’Escola Pia (as Braavosi street markets), another local street (as an alley in Oldtown), and the Girona Cathedral's exterior (as the Great Sept in King's Landing). Still in Catalonia, they filmed in the Santa Florentina Castle (as Horn Hill), Montgrí Castle and Besalú. Later locations where the Bardenas natural park in Navarre (as the Dothraki Sea) and the Zafra Castle in Guadalajara (as the Tower of Joy). In Peñíscola, all filming spots posed as Meereen: the Portal Fosc (as a dilapidated street), the Plaza de Santa María (as a granary), the Parque de la Artillería (as a garden) and the Plaza de Armas. In Almería, filming took place at a new Vaes Dothrak set in Pechina, on the Tabernas Desert (as the Dothraki Sea), on the Gypsum Karst of Sorbas, at the Mesa Roldán Tower (as Meereen), and at the Alcazaba (as Sunspear). Finally, filming without any of the cast briefly took place at the Alcázar of Seville (returning as the Water Gardens) and at the Roman bridge of Córdoba (once more as the Long Bridge of Volantis).
When the TV series began in Season 1, there were two simultaneous filming units - which is unusual for most TV shows, which have only one filming unit - called Wolf Unit and Dragon Unit. In Season 3, production expanded to include three filming units, with the new third one called Raven Unit. Season 4, however, switched back to using only two filming units, and Raven Unit was disbanded. Wolf Unit and Dragon Unit continued to film through Seasons 4 and 5. For Season 6, however, the TV series once again expanded to employ three simultaneous filming units: the new third filming unit was now called "White Walker Unit".
According to David Benioff, speaking at the red carpet advanced screening of the Season 6 premiere two weeks before its broadcast:
- "This season was a beast to make. We shot 680 hours of dailies, which translates to 3.7 million feet of film. We shot in five different countries – Northern Ireland, Spain, Croatia, Iceland, and Canada. We employed 900 crewmembers in Belfast; 400 in Spain. We issued 140 script revisions. We two shot units a day for 22 weeks straight, three units a day for 10 weeks straight, four units for two weeks straight. And none of that would be possible without the greatest producing team on the planet.
Thus they briefly switched to using four filming units for two weeks (it isn't clear if the fourth unit had a name), and apparently returned to film some scenes in Canada (possibly on a sound stage again as in Season 5, due to working with the actor-wolves).
In the ending credits for Season 6 episodes as they aired, the filming units were listed as "Wolf Unit", "Dragon Unit", "White Walker Unit", and the fourth one named simply "Spain Unit". It is unclear whether White Walker Unit or Spain Unit was the fourth one, which briefly filmed for two weeks - though it was probably White Walker Unit, if the name implies that it dealt with Bran Stark's scenes in the frozen north, while filming in Spain was drastically expanded in Season 6 to take over most of the southern-unit filming that used to be done in Croatia (for King's Landing, Braavos, Oldtown, and more).
The budget for the TV series was drastically increased yet again for Season 6, to about $10 million per episode (ten episodes, for a total of $100 million). Back in Season 2, the show averaged only about $6 million per episode. Benioff and Weiss even infamously had to beg HBO in an "awkward" conversation for an additional $2 million to film the climactic Battle of the Blackwater at the end of Season 2 (and thus episode 2.9 "Blackwater" totaled $8 million).
- Main article: Season 6 cast
- Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister (8 episodes)
- Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister (8 episodes)
- Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister (8 episodes)
- Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen (8 episodes)
- Kit Harington as Jon Snow (8 episodes)
- Aidan Gillen as Petyr Baelish (4 episodes)
- Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell (5 episodes)
- Liam Cunningham as Davos Seaworth (8 episodes)
- Carice van Houten as Melisandre (7 episodes)
- Indira Varma as Ellaria Sand (2 episodes)
- Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark (7 episodes)
- Maisie Williams as Arya Stark (8 episodes)
- Conleth Hill as Varys (7 episodes)
- Nathalie Emmanuel as Missandei (7 episodes)
- Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy (7 episodes)
- John Bradley as Samwell Tarly (3 episodes)
- Rory McCann as Sandor Clegane (2 episodes)
- Dean-Charles Chapman as Tommen Baratheon (6 episodes)
- Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth (5 episodes)
- Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark (5 episodes)
- Kristofer Hivju as Tormund Giantsbane (7 episodes)
- Michiel Huisman as Daario Naharis (6 episodes)
- Jonathan Pryce as the High Sparrow (7 episodes)
- Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Bolton (5 episodes)
- Michael McElhatton as Roose Bolton (2 episodes)
- Jerome Flynn as Bronn (3 episodes)
- Hannah Murray as Gilly (3 episodes)
- Tom Wlaschiha as Jaqen H'ghar (5 episodes)
- with Iain Glen as Jorah Mormont (3 episodes)
Selected guest starring cast
- Jacob Anderson as Grey Worm (7 episodes)
- Faye Marsay as the Waif (7 episodes)
- Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson as Gregor Clegane (6 episodes)
- Gemma Whelan as Yara Greyjoy (6 episodes)
- Ben Crompton as Eddison Tollett (5 episodes)
- Ian Gelder as Kevan Lannister (5 episodes)
- Daniel Portman as Podrick Payne (5 episodes)
- Diana Rigg as Olenna Tyrell (5 episodes)
- Hannah Waddingham as Unella (5 episodes)
- Roger Ashton-Griffiths as Mace Tyrell (4 episodes)
- Julian Glover as Pycelle (4 episodes)
- Ellie Kendrick as Meera Reed (4 episodes)
- Tim Plester as Walder Rivers (4 episodes)
- Kae Alexander as Leaf (3 episodes)
- Robert Aramayo as Eddard Stark (young) (3 episodes)
- Essie Davis as Lady Crane (3 episodes)
- Richard E. Grant as Izembaro (3 episodes)
- Anton Lesser as Qyburn (3 episodes)
- Tobias Menzies as Edmure Tully (3 episodes)
- Joe Naufahu as Moro (3 episodes)
- Brenock O'Connor as Olly (3 episodes)
- Bella Ramsey as Lyanna Mormont (3 episodes)
- Eugene Simon as Lancel (3 episodes)
- Max von Sydow as the Three-Eyed Raven (3 episodes)
- Owen Teale as Alliser Thorne (3 episodes)
- Pilou Asbæk as Euron Greyjoy (2 episodes)
- David Bradley as Walder Frey (2 episodes)
- Keisha Castle-Hughes as Obara Sand (2 episodes)
- Michael Feast as Aeron Greyjoy (2 episodes)
- Vladimir Furdik as Night King (2 episodes)
- Jessica Henwick as Nymeria Sand (2 episodes)
- Finn Jones as Loras Tyrell (2 episodes)
- Joseph Mawle as Benjen Stark (2 episodes)
- Tim McInnerny as Robett Glover (2 episodes)
- Kristian Nairn as Hodor (2 episodes)
- Art Parkinson as Rickon Stark (2 episodes)
- Clive Russell as Brynden Tully (2 episodes)
- Rosabell Laurenti Sellers as Tyene Sand (2 episodes)
- Natalia Tena as Osha (2 episodes)
- Rupert Vansittart as Yohn Royce (2 episodes)
- Richard Dormer as Beric Dondarrion ("No One")
- Lino Facioli as Robin Arryn ("Book of the Stranger")
- James Faulkner as Randyll Tarly ("Blood of My Blood")
- Paul Kaye as Thoros of Myr ("No One")
- Patrick Malahide as Balon Greyjoy ("Home")
- Ian McShane as Ray ("The Broken Man")
- DeObia Oparei as Areo Hotah ("The Red Woman")
- Toby Sebastian as Trystane Martell ("The Red Woman")
- Alexander Siddig as Doran Martell ("The Red Woman")
On March 27 2015, author George R.R. Martin said he would again not write a script for Season 6, as he wished to concentrate on finishing The Winds of Winter as soon as possible. On June 4, Miguel Sapochnik indicated he was already preparing to direct next season. Jeremy Podeswa made similar statements in June 12. On June 19, the showrunners confirmed that April Ferry would be the new costume designer for Season 6, replacing Michele Clapton, who decided to leave after five seasons. On June 22, newcomer Jack Bender announced he would direct two episodes for season six. The full list of directors and which episodes they would oversee was released in Entertainment Weekly on June 25. There are five directors, each doing two back to back episodes, as in Season 5. Jack Bender and Daniel Sackheim are working on the TV series for the first time, while the other three directors previously worked on the series in Season 5; none worked on the first four seasons.
- David Benioff: executive producer & showrunner
- D.B. Weiss: executive producer & showrunner
- Bernadette Caulfield: executive producer
- Frank Doelger: executive producer
- Carolyn Strauss: executive producer
- George R.R. Martin: co-executive producer
- Vince Gerardis: co-executive producer
- Guymon Casady: co-executive producer
- Greg Spence: producer
- Chris Newman: producer
- Lisa McAtackney: producer
- Bryan Cogman: supervising producer
- April Ferry: costume designer
- Michele Clapton: costume designer
- Deborah Riley: production designer
- Ramin Djawadi: composer
- Nina Gold: casting director
- Robert Sterne: casting director
- David Benioff & D.B. Weiss: episodes 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9 and 10
- Dave Hill: episode 2
- Bryan Cogman: episodes 6 and 7
- Jeremy Podeswa: episodes 1 and 2
- Daniel Sackheim: episodes 3 and 4
- Jack Bender: episodes 5 and 6
- Mark Mylod: episodes 7 and 8
- Miguel Sapochnik: episodes 9 and 10
|51||"The Red Woman"||April 24, 2016||7.94|
|Jon Snow is dead; Daenerys meets a strong man; Cersei sees her daughter again.|
|52||"Home"||May 1, 2016||7.29|
|Bran goes home; The Night's Watch stands behind Thorne.|
|53||"Oathbreaker"||May 8, 2016||7.28|
|Daenerys meets her future; Arya trains to be No One.|
|54||"Book of the Stranger"||May 15, 2016||7.82|
|Tyrion strikes a deal; Jorah and Daario undertake a difficult task.|
|55||"The Door"||May 22, 2016||7.89|
|Tyrion seeks a strange ally; Bran learns a great deal.|
|56||"Blood of My Blood"||May 29, 2016||6.71|
|Jaime challenges the High Sparrow; Arya faces a difficult choice.|
|57||"The Broken Man"||June 5, 2016||7.80|
|The High Sparrow eyes another target; The North is reminded.|
|58||"No One"||June 12, 2016||7.60|
|Jaime weighs his options; Tyrion's plans bear fruit.|
|59||"Battle of the Bastards"||June 19, 2016||7.66|
|Terms of surrender are rejected and accepted.|
|60||"The Winds of Winter"||June 26, 2016||8.89|
|Cersei faces a day of reckoning.|
Comparison with the novels
Although several plotlines of this season are ahead of the point the novels reached, large parts of it are based on the fourth and fifth novels "A Feast for Crows" and "A Dance with Dragons"; it also consists of a few scenes based on the first and third novels "A Game of Thrones" and "A Storm of Swords", and scenes based on sample chapters of the upcoming sixth novel "The Winds of Winter".
For a full list of differences between the season and the novels, see Differences between books and TV series - Season 6.
Prior seasons of the TV series released their Blu-ray sets around February to March, to build promotion up for the new season's premiere a month or two after that. Season 7, however, pushed back the filming schedule - given that winter has finally come to Westeros, they need to film later in the colder months of the year for on-location shoots. With Season 7 delayed and set for a mid-to-late summer 2017 release, HBO apparently decided that it was better not to make viewers wait that long for any new material, and it also no longer justified missing the Christmas 2016 shopping season. Thus, the Season 6 Blu-ray set was released early, on November 15, 2016 (in time for Black Friday shopping).
In prior seasons, each episode was followed by an "Inside the Episode" video featurette also posted on HBO's website, in which the showrunners discuss story elements and the filming crew discusses the practical challenges of actually filming it. In Season 6 this was split into two separate featurette series: the "Inside the Episode" featurettes are now much shorter, primarily consisting of the parts with the showrunners discussing the story; meanwhile, the much longer sections focusing on set production, stuntwork, and on-location filming are now a separate featurette series called "The Game Revealed" - a five-part docuseries. "The Game Revealed" is split up into five installments, each covering two episodes of Season 6 in order. The new slimmed-down "Inside the Episode" featurettes only featuring the showrunners (and some cast members) discussing the story are now integrated into the HBO Now online player, so they play immediately after the main episode's credits end. Meanwhile, "The Game Revealed" featuretttes are also on the HBO Now player but as separate video files. Taken together, both featurette series give as much information as the old "Inside the Episode" featurettes, the new version simply splits up the content: the first focuses on story ideas, the second on how the filming crew realized it.
Three other Blu-ray/DVD exclusive featurettes were also included in the home video release:
- "18 Hours At The Paint Hall": Following all three shooting units as they converge in a behind-the-scenes snapshot of a day in the life of the largest show on television.
- "The Battle of the Bastards: An In-Depth Look" – Behind-the-scenes piece examining the production challenges of creating this epic event, including explorations of VFX, stunts, and interviews with key cast and crew.
- "Recreating The Dothraki World": Behind-the-scenes piece looking at the creation of Vaes Dothrak and its importance to Daenerys's evolution.
The release also includes 13 commentary tracks by the cast and crew, and (exclusive to the Blu-ray version) the next set of 18 Histories & Lore videos, and "In-Episode Guide" on-screen notes feature.
The Season 6 Blu-ray set included three deleted scenes. The first two are not particularly new or substantive, but the third one includes large new sections of the play that Arya sees in Braavos which were cut for time.
- 1 - Still at night, a longer section of Davos and Edd standing stunned around Jon's dead body. A knock comes at the door and they draw their swords, but it is Melisandre. She looks on Jon's body with concern as well.
- 2 - Following on from the first deleted scene: some time later, when it is bright out, Edd lets Ghost out of the kennel (the CGI for the direwolf is half-finished). As he's in the courtyard, Alliser and his men walk up; Alisser asks where Tollard is going. Both hover around the fact that Jon is dead. Edd says the wolf needs feeding, Alliser says to just bring him food, not let him out; Edd angrily says they can't just cage him up forever, and Alliser says he should probably just take him out through the tunnel and set him loose on the north side of the Wall. Ghost snarls at Alliser. Alliser says that when Edd is done, they're all having a meeting in the mess hall, then leaves. About 1 minute long.
- 3 - Olenna and Mace are being carried inside a palanquin through King's Landing. Olenna condescendingly asks if Mace honestly thought Cersei sent him to Braavos to treat with the Iron Bank for innocent reasons, when she really sent him there to keep him out of the way while she arrested his children; and she sent a Kingsguard with him to make sure he stayed there. Mace says he thought it made sense given that he is the Master of Coin. Olenna continues that he just stayed there out of the way, eating, drinking, and singing, while his own children were being arrested; Mace can't look her in the eye and say there was no singing. But Olenna says it won't happen again; now that the Faith has also arrested Cersei herself, Kevan Lannister has returned and he invited Olenna to come to the Small Council meeting to try to figure out what to do. Mace asks if Kevan is making her Master of Coin now (he's already Master of Ships and was pulling double-duty), but Olenna says she is just the "mistress of getting my grandchildren out of bloody prison". Mace firmly says that they're his children too and he fears for them as well. Olenna assures him that they will get them back, then all leave this dreadful city, and let the Lannisters and Sparrows tear each other to pieces. 1 minute 20 seconds long.
- 4 - A much longer opening section of The Bloody Hand, the play Arya sees in Braavos. About 2 minutes of new material, before "King Robert" gets gored in the boar hunt. Robert sits on the Iron Throne drinking wine excessively. Cersei pleads with him that he will dull his wits for the Small Council meeting. Robert slaps Cersei across the face, and admonishes her that the Small Council meetings are boring, and he will let Ned Stark deal with them - rather than attend to affairs of the realm, he would rather go on a boar hunt. Then "Robert" loadly farts (by lifting his leg and the sound effects man squeezing a prop bladder). Tyrion brings Robert more wine, and encourages him to drink far more than he should, so he will be too inebriated to defend himself from the boar. "Tyrion" then gives a soliloquy that this plays right into his hands, soon Ned Stark will be dead too, and he will be the new Hand of the King. Cersei introduces Joffrey, and says that Robert should bring his son to sit in on the council meeting to learn how to rule. Instead, Robert backhands Joffrey across the face (much to Arya and the crowd's amusement). Robert then goes on the boar hunt. Two well-to-do women next to Arya, however, are insulted by the extremely crass language and low-brow humor inserted into the play, which they think is being used as a substitute for good writing, sarcastically saying, "violence and profanity? How original!" Arya then turns to them and sneers, "why don't you just leave then?"
- In the DVD commentary, the TV writers explain that their version of the play (from the books) was meant to mock reviewers who complain about invented scenes of violence and profanity that aren't in the novels. However, even the director of the episodes the play scenes appear in (Jack Bender) grew uncomfortable and told them he thought the complaints were entirely accurate, and he thought this was them giving candid self-criticism. The writers insisted to him that it was obviously mocking unjustified criticisms and to go further with it; this disagreement may be why this part of the scene was deleted.
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